The Invasion

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
The Invasion Movie Poster Image
Smart thriller devolves into standard action fare.
  • PG-13
  • 2007
  • 93 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Aliens are implacable, humans are fearful, a mom defends her son absolutely.

Violence

Much of the movie's violence is implied, though what is seen can be jarring and even frightening. Standard action-movie violence includes car chases and crashes, as well as shootings, foot chases, fights, and rough take-downs by cops; these result in bloody bodies (slammed on windshield, etc.) and screams of fear and pain. Some violence occurs in front of young Ollie (his mother shoots someone, his mother almost dies, he has to give her an adrenalin shot to her heart/chest), who is duly upset. Other potentially upsetting images include a space shuttle crashing to earth (recalling the 2003 Columbia disaster); the yucky, crusty goo that the invading virus creates on its victims; a dog attacking a little boy who has been infected, leaving blood on his face (the boy throttles the dog); a woman being hit very hard by a car; an alien trying to break into Carol's house; a victim's intense cardiac arrest; Ollie waking from a nightmare in a panic and later running from his father and hitting him with a crowbar; a dead cop shown in a bloody pool on the sidewalk; TV news reports on suicide bombings in Iraq; and a Molotov cocktail thrown at Carol's car.

Sex

Passionate kiss between Carol and Ben, which is cut off when she changes her mind. Brief shot of Carol undressing (down to pantyhose) as she hurriedly changes.

Language

Language includes infrequent uses of "s--t" and "goddamn."

Consumerism

Shots of and references to a Mac laptop, Mountain Dew, Pepsi, eBay, USA Today, CNN, Fox News.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Carol downs handfuls of stay-awake pills; Carol discusses medications for her patients (anti-psychotic drugs). People drink champagne, wine, and beer at parties.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this latest cinematic take on Invasion of the Body Snatchers could definitely scare kids, despite the fact that much of its violence is implied instead of shown. Not that it's short on action-violence scenes: There's a space shuttle crash, lots of loud car crashes, fights/struggles, and bloody shootings. And the alien virus leaves humans looking creepy (crusty, featureless, and wheezing), before they're turned into eerie copies of themselves. The movie -- which is structured to reflect the main character's disjointed state of mind -- cuts back and forth quickly in time in ways that might confuse younger viewers. Language is brief (one or two uses of "s--t" and "damn"), there's some social drinking, and Carol downs pills to stay awake.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bysugarmomma April 9, 2008

Surprise

I wanted to let you know that on the Invasion it was a total let down on your review of the movie. You stated there was one scene of Carol striping down to hos... Continue reading
Adult Written byHeroneSilverton April 9, 2008

Kept me on the edge of my seat.

Me liking anything with Nicole Kidman, I may not be one to rate this movie, but I will anyway. Very good scary movie in my opinion, all the good stuff to scare... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bydirecterdude123 April 9, 2008

Way better then I thought!

This movie is really scary! there is alot of violants and people being attacked. This movie is good for any kid over 13 that loves violant alien action!
Kid, 12 years old June 13, 2010

A Subtle Fear

Keep in mind, the last time I watched this movie was in December of 2009, almost five years ago. The film itself has numerous plot holes and quick fixes. There... Continue reading

What's the story?

THE INVASION is the fourth film version of Jack Finney's 1955 novel (previous adaptations include the 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Philip Kaufman's 1978 remake). But the alien-engineered change that threatens humans in this version is no longer a matter of pods that enclose victims while they sleep, but a virus-like "highly resilient organism" transmitted through body fluids. It is up to Dr. Stephen Galeano (Jeffrey Wright), Washington, D.C. psychiatrist Carol Bennell (Nicole Kidman) and her colleague, Ben (Daniel Craig), to discover the antidote.

Is it any good?

The film indicates Carol's personal chaos with its fragmented, sometimes hard-to-follow storyline, which cuts back and forth in time. Bent over his microscope, Dr. Galeano isn't a likely action movie hero, and neither are his cohorts; the change in this old story's plot suits our current times. And Carol's perspective also limits potential philosophical questions. When her ex, Tucker (Jeremy Northam), tries to infect their young son, Oliver (Jackson Bond), with the organism, he insists that it's for the boy's good, to be part of "our world," where everyone feels peaceful and "the same" (news reports reveal that the rest of the world is changing: Darfur declares a ceasefire, the Iraqi president calls off suicide bombings, and Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush appear together, all smiles and agreements). As Tucker puts it, this conformity by force isn't so different from the pills Carol prescribes for her unhappy patients: Everyone just wants to "feel better."

The hitch is that the new world cannot brook difference, so anyone who's immune to the transition or otherwise resists it is eliminated -- brutally. And so the film undergoes its own change, from sharp paranoid thriller to noisy action flick, with lots of shooting and cars crashing, a chase in D.C.'s metro system, and a by-the-numbers helicopter rescue. Sadly, all this physical commotion eventually prevails over the film's more complicated questions about fear, independence, and social order.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of implied violence in scary movies. Are movies scarier when they show violent acts taking place on screen or when those acts are left to your imagination? Why? Families can also discuss what message the movie is trying to send, if any. Do you think the aliens' proposed choice -- sameness without fighting, or individualism and selfishness accompanied by war and conflict -- is meant to reflect any specific issues in today's society?

Movie details

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